I have heard of politics making strange bedfellows and I have heard that a lot of friendships have cracked up over disagreements about politics but I am not sure about marriages. I would imagine there are couples who fundamentally disagree about political issues and certainly, during political seasons such as the one we have now, it is not hard to imagine that there could be strong arguments and even drag down fights if both parties share opposite views on who would make the best and right president for the country.
They say opposites attract and certainly, the fact that a couple are on different sides of the aisle as far as their politics goes is not necessarily grounds for a divorce or even grounds to put the marriage on hold. Because, presumably, the difference in political viewpoints must have been apparent before they got married and so assumedly, they went ahead and got married anyway, they clearly did not think this is a deal-breaking issue.
But are there times when it could become a deal-breaker? I certainly can imagine that the answer is a resounding yes. Because when elections get as divisive as this one does, and we have a couple who are on different sides of the aisle, that passion could spill over and venture into territory that is not so great. People could say things they come to regret. It really could become personal. Name-calling, insults, silent treatment, shouting and even physical violence can ensue in the extreme cases.
It is not enough to tell a couple “reasonable people can disagree.” What can they do to avoid conflict that gets out of hand?
Here are 10 things:
- Don’t talk about politics with each other if you already know you two can’t talk politics without leading to a bloodbath.
- Try to marry someone with whom your politics basically align.
- Limit political discussions to certain topics and certain times like when there are other people around.
- Shut down the discussion the minute it looks, sounds or feels like it is heading in the wrong direction.
- Refuse to “go there” when your partner begins to name-call or yell.
- Never try to shout down the other person, instead be quiet and let them finish their point and if the point never seems to come to a terminus, walk away from the discussion after politely excusing yourself.
- Use humour to diffuse a tense moment.
- Be open-minded to the other point of view
- Get better at listening even if clearly your spouse is talking bullshit.
- Accept that you fundamentally disagree and respectfully agree to disagree.